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The Science Behind Coffee Withdrawal

The Science Behind Coffee Withdrawal

It’s not a lack of coffee that gives me a headache, it’s all the stupid questions that seem to swarm around my uncaffeinated moments. Surely I can’t be required to know with 100% accuracy if I’ve already changed my six-month old daughter’s diaper or not when I haven’t had any coffee. That’s downright unreasonable, right?

Obviously, not having coffee doesn’t have much effect on me, but others aren’t so lucky. Headaches, lethargy, and irritability are just of a few of the side effects of forgoing caffeine. But have you ever wondered why this is? A recent article from Food & Wine examines the science behind the headaches.

 

As Food & Wine notes, caffeine is still addictive (which sounds a little judgy to me, but whatever), and with not feeding the monkey comes withdrawals.

According to the article, caffeine works by adhering to adenosine receptors in your brain, keeping the neurotransmitter from binding to those receptors. Adenosine slows down brain activity and causes you to feel sleepy, so when caffeine keeps it from binding, it keeps you from feeling sleepy. The brain compensates by creating more and more adenosine. So once you stop drinking coffee, all that adenosine comes back withe a vengeance, causing a strong desire to sleep and a throbbing headache.

So whenever you are feeling foul because of a dearth of coffee, blame your brain. It’s conspiring to make you feel worse. Or don’t ever stop drinking coffee. That’ll show your stupid brain who’s boss.

It’s like that old saying goes, “Distance makes the heart grow fonder, but it makes the head ache stronger.”

Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network.

*top image via StickyComics.com


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